Edsel Ford High School presents “Babes in Arms”

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Photo by Sue Suchyta
Director Robert Doyle (second from left, seated at piano) rehearses March 18 with Dearborn Edsel Ford High School “Babes in Arms” cast members Clare Russell (left), 18, a senior, who plays Susie Ward and junior Nathaniel Booth, 17, who plays Valentine White.

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By SUE SUCHYTA
Edsel Ford High School presents Rodgers and Hart’s 1937 Broadway musical “Babes in Arms” at 8 p.m. April 18, 19 and 20, with a 3 p.m. April 20 matinee. The school is at 20601 Rotunda in Dearborn.

Presale tickets are $8 general admission and $6 for students and seniors, with the box office open from 2:30 to 6 p.m. April 15 to 17 for advanced sales. General admission tickets are $10 at the door, with an $8 price for students and seniors.

Set in a summer stock theater on Cape Cod, poor young apprentices are staging a revue to raise money for Bunny, one of the theater’s co-owners, who is trying to pay off her father’s debts. Fleming, the other owner, wants to put on another play, “The Deep North,” a horrible show. Amidst romantic relationships, the apprentices conspire to find a way to thwart Fleming and help Bunny.

The cast includes junior Nathaniel Booth, 17, as Valentine White; senior Clare Russell, 18, as Susie Ward; junior Benjamin Timpf, 17, as Gus Field; and sophomore Sarah Remily, 15, as Terry Thompson.

Sophomore Michael Nelson, 16, plays the press agent; sophomore Spencer Venis, 16, plays Steve Edwards; sophomore Hannah Joiner, 16, plays Phyllis Owen; and junior Joanna Frantz, 17, plays Jennifer Owen.

Senior Kevin Talanges, 18, plays Lee Calhoun, with sophomore Teria Berry, 15, as Bunny and senior David Nycz, 17, as Seymour Fleming.

Cameo chorus roles include juniors Abdel-Raouf El-Alami, 16, as Peter; Sarah Anderson, 17, as Betty; Alexandria Antonelli, 16, as Libby; Sara Justice, 16, as Ann; and Katelyn Harrison, 16, as Nancy. Freshman Matt Stover, 15, plays Don.

Audiences may recognize many of the Rodgers and Hart songs from the show, which include “The Lady is a Tramp,” “Johnny One Note,” “Where or When,” “I Wish I Were in Love Again” and “My Funny Valentine.”

Audiences will enjoy the music, Timpf said, which he describes as American songbook classics.

“It’s a lot of music that people enjoy and I think that is what really attracts people to the show,” Timpf said.

He has a tap duet with Remily during “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” which he said is a lot of fun. He said there are also multiple big chorus dance numbers.

Timpf said the play is a lot of fun.

“It’s not too well known but it’s still considered an American golden age musical,” Timpf said. “I think for theater-goers and non-theater-goers it’s an awesome example of Rodgers and Hart’s work.”

Russell said audiences will find themselves singing along in their head to songs like “The Lady is a Tramp” and “My Funny Valentine,” which she describes as great songs everyone will know.

She said it is a great show to close out her senior year at Edsel Ford.

“It’s a big musical, full of energy, full of song and full of dance,” Russell said. “I just love it.”

Booth said the show is appealing to audiences because it is carefree and fun loving.

“It doesn’t have a huge moral that everyone should pay attention to,” Booth said. “It is just something that will make people feel good and want to come see it and they’ll leave singing.”

Booth said many of the songs from the show became standards with crooner singers in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.

“Most of the songs in here aren’t for a specific purpose,” Booth said. “They’re part of a revue that’s being written or to enunciate a character’s background. They are easy to take out of place and just sing, and they’re great songs.”

Booth added that the songs highlight the music of the Great Depression.

“It’s jazzy and yet it still has the influence of the crooning,” Booth said. “And everyone in the ’30s was trying to get away from being so depressed about the Great Depression, so they wanted to feel good, so they wrote feel good things.”

He said their cast makes “Babes in Arms” a great show.

“Anyone who wants to be happy should come see it,” Booth said.

SOUTHGATE COMMUNITY PLAYERS PRESENT ‘CHICAGO – THE MUSICAL’
Southgate Community Players present Kander, Ebb and Fosse’s, “Chicago – The Musical” at 8 p.m. May 3, 4, 10 and 11 at Davidson Middle School, 15800 Trenton Road in Southgate.

Tickets are $15 for general admission and $13 for students and seniors. For more information, call 734-282-4727 or go to www.scponstage.com.

“Chicago – the Musical” is set in the 1920s in Prohibition-era Chicago and features Velma Kelly, is a vaudevillian who murdered her husband and her sister when she discovered them in bed together, and chorus girl Roxie Hart, who murdered of her lover, Fred Casely.

The musical satirizes the corruption of the criminal justice system and the cult of the celebrity criminal, and plays like a vaudeville show, with sexy Fosse-inspired dances and entertaining musical numbers.

The cast includes Kelly R. Lomas of Trenton as Velma Kelly, Megan Robertson of Southgate as Roxie Hart, Bill Spurlin of Garden City as Amos Hart and Leo McMaster of Lincoln Park as Billy Flynn.

Rian McDonald of Southgate plays Fred Casely, Kevin Talanges of Dearborn plays the Master of Ceremonies and Zach Morgan of Southgate plays Mary Sunshine.

Jema McCardell of Trenton plays Matron Mama Morton, with Patty Hubbard of Taylor as Go-To-Hell Kitty, Kelly Klug of Lincoln Park as June, Catherine long of Lincoln Park as Mona, Alexis Mosley of Allen Park as Liz, Danae Pawlak of Rockwood as Annie and Sydney Villanueva of Woodhaven as Hunyak.

Ensemble members include Alan Demorow of Allen Park; Larry Hubbard of Taylor, Marie Olsen of Wyandotte, Jessica Pusino of Riverview; Erika Sterling of Southgate; Tina Brow of Brownstown; Stephanie Schulte of Flat Rock; and Chris Gawel, Monica Luckwald and Stephen Phillips of Woodhaven.

‘TIME STANDS STILL’ AT WAYNE STATE’S STUDIO THEATRE
Donald Margulies’ “Time Stands Still,” which opened Thursday, continues its two-weekend run through April 6 at Wayne State University’s Studio Theatre, 4743 Cass in Detroit, in the lower level of the Hilberry Theatre.

The show focuses on Sarah, a photojournalist injured by a roadside bomb. When she confronts the realities of covering tragedies in war zones, she must decide whether reporters should intervene to relieve suffering.

Tickets are $10 and $12 and are available through the Studio Theatre Box Office. For more information, call (313) 577-2972 or go to www.wsustudio.com.

SHOWBIZ KIDZ PRESENT ‘DISNEY’S SLEEPING BEAUTY KIDS’
“Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Kids” opens a one-weekend run Friday at the Trillium Academy’s Royal Majestic Theatre, 15740 Racho Road in Taylor.

It is performed by the Showbiz Kidz, youth actors age 4 to 16, with 7:30 p.m. April 5 and 6 performances and a 2 p.m. April 7 matinee.

The show runs for 40 minutes, and is a child-friendly spring break boredom-buster. Princess Aurora; the fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather; and the evil sorceress Maleficent will be there, along the crazy minions the Goons, cute little forest creatures and medieval cast of loyal subjects.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s music from “The Sleeping Beauty” adds to the production’s charm.

Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for seniors, students and children. For more information, call 734-934-7086.

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